The Premium Lens Decision
Sidney has been with our practice for over 15 years, much of that time spent as a surgical counselor. But this was the first time she had counseled a patient at Starbucks! Sipping on her morning coffee, she was approached with questions about the different lens choices for cataract surgery. The gentleman that approached Sidney had just had cataract surgery at another practice. He had selected the traditional lens but was having second thoughts.
When having cataract surgery today, you have the choice of three different lens types to implant during your procedure. You can have a traditional lens, toric lens or multifocal lens. The traditional lens is typically set for good distance vision, but you will need reading glasses. The toric lens helps to reduce or eliminate astigmatism, again giving good distance vision, but still requiring reading glasses. The multifocal lens is designed to provide patients with good distance vision as well as good near vision. Dizzy yet? Trying to wrap your head around, not only the choice to have cataract surgery, but now the choice of what lens to have can be overwhelming!
Some patients do not qualify for all three lens options, due to specific condition of their eyes. This information would be discussed by your surgeon at your evaluation. However for most patients, it comes down to a cost-benefit analysis. Is the benefit I receive from the lens worth the cost I will pay. The traditional lens does not carry any additional costs, just what you would typically pay for your cataract procedure. If you choose the toric lens, you will pay about $1,500 more per eye while choosing the multifocal lens costs you about $2,500 more per eye.
The gentleman Sidney met at Starbucks chose not to have the multifocal lens. He didn’t fully understand the benefit the lens provided and felt like the practice he went to was just trying to “up-sell” him. In retrospect, now fully understanding the benefits of the lens, he likely would have made a different decision. If reading glasses don’t bother you before cataract surgery, they probably won’t bother you after cataract surgery. You would likely be fine with a traditional lens. If you despise reading glasses, you should consider the multifocal option. Just be sure to spend some time learning about your lens options before proceeding with surgery. You only get one chance to make a decision that will impact the way you see for a lifetime!
Thank you Sidney, for sharing your story!